It’s easy to get scared off by the huge array of supplements on the market, especially workout supplements for beginners. Starting out, it’s easy to get caught like a dear in the headlights inside a supplement store. Each product claims to help you achieve the same goals at break-neck speed. This comprehensive guide will teach you why and how they work so you know which ingredients deliver on their promises:
Workout supplements for beginners to build muscle – the more important stuff
One of the greatest things about being a beginner is the rapid gains you can make in muscle strength and size. Following the right program can have a big impact on the magnitude of those gains, as can the right nutrition program. Using the right supplements at the right time is also part of that proper nutrition program.
When it comes to workout supplements for the beginner, the focus should be on providing adequate energy prior to workouts and proper recovery after workouts. That means proper pre-workout and post-workout supplementation.
Fortunately, a beginner’s supplement needs can be broken down into three simple supplements:
Both clinical data and anecdotal evidence suggests that creatine provides the best results when taken before and after workouts. Other than convenience, the main reason to get a dose of creatine before workouts is due to the fact that it provides the muscle fibers a powerful energy source.
Once inside the muscle fibers, creatine gains a high-energy phosphate to form phosphocreatine (PCr). Phosphocreatine is simply a molecule of creatine with a phosphate group attached to it. During very high-intensity exercise, such as weight lifting, creatine donates this high-energy phosphate group to the muscle to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP ).
This rapidly-generated ATP is used to fuel the muscle contractions during a set. The more phosphocreatine you’ve stored in your muscle fibers, the more reps you can get during a set. This is the main way that supplementing with creatine leads to greater gains in muscle strength and muscle hypertrophy over time.
It allows you to complete more reps with a given weight. That eventually allows you to lift heavier and heavier weight. That greater overload placed on the muscle in combination with greater work performed, eventually leads to greater muscle growth.
Studies have also shown that creatine may work though numerous other mechanisms as well, such as by increasing levels of IGF-I, decreasing myostatin, and increasing the number of satellite cells in muscle fibers. Getting a second, post workout dose of creatine is good to replenish the muscle creatine levels.
Plus, muscle cells are primed to take up nutrients after workouts, especially when you take the right combination of nutrients, like a protein-powder blend and carbs. Creatine is the most studied safe and proven effective of the workout supplements for beginners that money can buy. A must-have
Whey protein and casein powder blend
Using a blend of the right kinds of protein at the right times is best for encouraging muscle growth. The two most critical times to get protein powder in is before and after workouts. The best type of protein blend should include whey protein isolate and micellar casein, which are both milk proteins, but very different in their properties.
Whey digests very rapidly and has been shown to quickly boost muscle protein synthesis, which leads to muscle growth. Micellar casein digests very slowly, which maintains an elevated muscle protein synthesis for longer. Ideally, the protein-powder blend should also provide a medium-digesting protein, such as egg-white protein or soy protein.
Research shows that consuming a blend of fast, medium and slow-digesting protein powders is more anabolic than using whey alone. However, the benefits of using the dairy proteins whey and casein are not all about their digestion rate. These proteins also contain micro fractions such as beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, glycomacropeptide, immunoglobulins, serum albumin, lactoferrin (~1%), lactoperoxidase (<1%).
They also contain other minor proteins such as -microglobulin, lysozyme, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) andbeta-globulins, which provide antioxidant and immune-boosting benefits and enhance muscle growth and strength.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAS)
Branch chains belong firmly in the ‘optional’ category – they may have a use if you like to train on an empty stomach or if you’re failing to hit your protein target on a daily basis. They can fill those gaps, but if you’re already consuming enough protein in your day to day diet, then they are less useful.
BCAAs include the three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are critical before and after workouts due to their ability to boost energy, reduce fatigue and instigate muscle growth. Numerous studies show that supplementing with BCAAs before exercise promotes muscle endurance and blunts fatigue.
One reason for this is the fact that the BCAAs, unlike most other amino acids, are used directly by the muscle fibers as an energy source. This is especially true during intense exercise, such as weight training.
Another way BCAAs keep you energized during workouts is thanks to valine. During exercise, tryptophan is taken up by your brain in large amounts. Tryptophan is converted in the brain to 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), or what you likely know better as serotonin. Higher levels of serotonin during exercise tells the brain that the body is fatigued.
This leads to a reduction in muscle strength and endurance. Valine competes with tryptophan for entry into the brain and typically wins. This means that less tryptophan gets in and gets converted to serotonin, which allows your muscles to contract with more force for a longer time before getting fatigued.
This also can help you to stay more alert and keep your brain sharper during the day when you’re not working out. After workouts you’ll want another dose of BCAAs because they’re the most critical amino acids for muscle growth. Leucine is the key player here. This is due to the fact that this amino acid plays one of the most critical roles in muscle growth. Leucine acts much like a key does to an ignition of a car.
The car in this case is a muscle cell or fiber. The ignition turns on the process of muscle protein synthesis, which builds up the muscle protein that leads to muscle growth. I
In more ‘sciencey’ terms, leucine activates a complex called mTOR, which ramps up muscle protein synthesis and therefore muscle growth. Research suggests those who add extra leucine to their post-workout protein and carbs experienced significantly greater muscle protein synthesis than those who just get protein and carbs.
When to take the workout supplements for beginners stack?
Stacking these supplements will mean synergistic results, but also WHEN you take your workout supplements may also have a bearing.
Research from Victoria University, Australia, found when subjects consumed whey protein, creatine, and glucose immediately before and after workouts for ten weeks they experienced an 80% greater increase in muscle mass and about a 30% greater increase in muscle strength than subjects who took the same supplements in the morning and at night.
They also lost body fat while the morning and night group lost no body fat. The pre-and-post-workout group also had significantly higher muscle glycogen levels, which is critical for performance and muscle growth. So, the take-home message here is that while you need the right workout supplements for beginners, it’s also important to get them in at the right times.
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